Influence of Drug Use on Morbidity and Mortality in Heatstroke

Journal of Medical Toxicology, 03/30/2012

Levine M et al. – Drugs that impair thermoregulation are frequently encountered in patients admitted for heatstroke. Patients taking such drugs may experience increased morbidity over those patients not taking such drugs.


  • A case control study was conducted on adult patients (age, ≥14years) admitted to an intensive care unit with an admitting diagnosis of heatstroke at two academic teaching hospitals in Phoenix, AZ, between 31 August 2005 through 31 July 2010.
  • Subjects were classified as “users” if they admitted to taking a drug on a pre-defined list of drugs associated with abnormal thermal homeostasis, or if a urine test for drugs of abuse revealed the presence of an amphetamine or cocaine.
  • Similarly, subjects who did not take such drugs were considered “non-users.”
  • Seventy-eight patients were identified, with complete medication histories available for 74 of 78 subjects.


  • The overall prevalence of drug utilization was 41.9 % (31 of 74).
  • The median length of stay was 3.0days for the non-users compared with 9.0days for “users.”
  • There was no difference between users and non-users with regard to mortality.

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